Tag Archives: won

Review of Crossing in Time, by D. L. Orton

I won an Audible copy of Crossing in Time (by D.L. Orton) through AudaVoxx.

Description from Goodreads:
Race against the clock through a dystopian nightmare. Climb naked into an untested time machine (carrying only a seashell and a promise). Wake up twenty years younger on a tropical beach, buck naked and mortally wounded, with your heart in your throat.

This is a journey of love, loss, and redemption that will make your pulse gallop and your palms sweat, have you laughing out loud through your tears, and leave you flush with the sublime pleasure of falling in love.

Review:
Look, I simply did not like this book. I’ll admit that the editing seems fine. (I listened to the audio, so I wouldn’t know if there are a lot of copy edit mistakes, but it sounded structurally competent.) But the farther into it I got the more I hated it, until I simply had to force myself to finish it. I would literally dread pushing play, too afraid of what new shit way the book would find to piss me off. Yes, I’m serious with that attitude. I hated this book.

Before I get into why, let me pause and be positive about the narrators. They both did a marvelous job, Noah Michael Levine especially. Erin deWard did a good job too, but the choice to voice Isabel sounding so desperate all the time only exacerbated my problem with her. But that was a style choice, not a quality problem. The narration is good.

Now back to the negative. It’s all freakin’ negative from here and there will be SPOILERS. I’m going to start with the romance, or lack there of. Two people (ex lovers) accidentally run into each other after not seeing one other for 15 years. They go to dinner, have a fight (about their past), she walks out. There’s a bit of drama requiring him to rescue her from a burning building and he asks her to marry him before they get out. That’s the romance and we’re suppose to believe it’s the romance to end all romances. Meant to be and all that jazz.

Here’s my issue. First, it’s 100% unrealistic. Yes, this is fantasy/sci-fi, but people change a lot in 15 years and this isn’t addressed. Two, if it’s so perfect they wouldn’t have given it up so easily 15 years earlier and/or would have made contact before 15 years passed. And he apparently had her cell number the whole time. It didn’t change. (And don’t think I’m not seriously side-eyeing someone having the same cell phone number for 15 years. Anyone remember what cells were like in 2000?) Three, as a reader I felt cheated out of seeing them get to know each other and fall in love. I suspect Orton meant for the reader to feel this in the second time-line, but I 100% DID NOT. Because that was not romantic either. That was Isabel being incompetent and Diego being unbelievably sway-able.

Now let me move on to my big issue. Diego was lovely, too wonderful actually. But you can’t help but like him. Isabel however was cliched beyond belief. Let me tell you her role in this book (and this just off the top of my head). She almost dies saving a kitten (not even her kitten, just a random kitten) and has to be saved from being burned and crushed in a fire. She gets stabbed. She gets septic. She almost gets raped (and turns out to probably actually have a history of being raped). She essentially gets kidnapped by her ex-husband. She almost dies in a miscarriage and she gets sick and almost dies from traveling through dimensions. And I lost count of how many times she was either in debilitating pain or confused because she’s barely conscious. She was the perpetual victim. I hated her. Or rather I hated that Orton could come up with no better role for her than to be the victim that spurs Diego into action.

Their love is supposed to save the multi-verse. But Diego gets to go through to another world and retrieve a vaccine, bring it back and save millions. Isabel? She gets to travel through dimensions to teach Diego to be a better lover to her apparently unstable future self. How do I feel about that? Fuck you Orton. Isabel was supposed to be a smart scientist. She never does anything intelligent in the entire book. She’s too busy navel gazing and being cliche.

Speaking of science, it’s all hand waving. I actually think calling this science fiction is almost a stretch.

I find myself in a difficult position now. I think I won this audio book and I have the second book too. I feel obligated to listen to it. But considering how much I hated this one, I just don’t want to.


On an amusing side note, I had to call the fraud department of one of my charge cards this morning and the person I spoke to (Tomeo) had a lovely accent that sounded very much like how Noah voiced Diego. It was quite charming and made me smile.

Review of The Slave, by Anand Dilvar

I won a copy of The Slave, by Anand Dilvar, through Goodreads.

Description:
Trapped in a vegetative state, following a terrible accident that has paralyzed his whole body, the narrator is unable to communicate with those around him. Cut off from family and friends so begins an inner conversation with his spiritual guide, a conversation which takes him on a journey of self-realization, bringing him eventually to a new state of consciousness, and an understanding of his deepest self.

Written with an engaging simplicity, this is a truly profound book which can change your life. In fact to use the authors own words, it is designed to shake, shudder and wake us up. It is a book that has nothing to do with success, social recognition, with the accumulation of goods; but everything to do with joy, love and peace.

Review:
Sooooo, I read The Slave and I rolled my eyes so hard I think I saw the back of my skull. Why do people keep publishing books telling others to accept reality and take responsibility for their own actions and emotions, while pretending this is some new ground-breaking idea? I’m pretty sure Lao Tzu said it in the 6th century (BCE). And it probably wasn’t even a new idea when he decided to write it down!

The writing is stiff and there are several inconsistencies. For example, the unnamed protagonist was a John Doe at the hospital. But he was injured in a car accident at a party with people he knew. Surely someone could ID him to the paramedics. And his spirit guide was supposed to be part of himself and not know anything he didn’t. But he could prompt enlightenment and teach lessons John Doe didn’t know.

It was also vague on details. A hospital staff said the character was in “some sort of rigamortis.” A doctor claimed his “heart stopped,” instead of saying cardiac arrest or asystole. The girlfriend said she moved in with her aunt who lived “quite far from here,” etc.

All in all, I found the whole thing sappy and unoriginal. It’s been done better before.

Review of Consciousness Archaeology, by Maximus Freeman

I won a copy of Consciousness Archaeology, by Maximus Freeman, through Goodreads.

Description from Goodreads:
Consciousness Archaeology vividly chronicles Freeman’s relentless, twenty-year exploration of the ebbs and flows of life from the dark night of the Soul to the radiant light of Presence. His use of intimate, personal stories provides a raw, unfiltered view of human nature in its most vulnerable state. Freeman shares his unique perspective on many ancient truths and introduces several insightful theories of his own while injecting just a hint of humor. Most importantly though, he provides simple, practical exercises which allow the reader to experience profound, life-long benefits. Are you ready to dig deep?

Review:
Sooooooo……..NO.

Self-help books are a difficult group to review, as what works for one person might not for another and visa-versa. This book is no different in that regard. But I’m willing to nix it for a few important (to me) reasons.

First, how exactly can a man write a book that is supposed to be about acceptance and letting go of the self, but includes so very many references to Me, Myself and I? This is not actually about about how you or I can excavate our consciousness. It is instead a memoir of how Maximus Freeman explored and discovered his. Not the same thing!

He speaks about how in the past he was a self-centered, control-freak. But all we have is his own word that this has changed. And frankly, finding a man (a white man, at that) willing to tell you all about how he has the answers you don’t isn’t rare or eye opening. Nor does it convince me that he’s suddenly the easy going, modest guy he espouses.

Second, he identifies the root of all insecurities by page 4 (which is really page two, as the first is a title page and the second a centered quote). Then he finds the reason we all ‘act the way we act’ and how to move away from it by page six, before jumping into his spiel. Excuse me, but those are huge topics that deserve a lot more attention than 4 pages. What’s more, as a reader I expect more than just being told. I want some supporting information.

Third, he includes references to the spirit, light and dark, karma, etc. But all of these are separated from their original context. I’ve said this in the past, in similar author centered self-help books, but you can’t just appropriate ideas piecemeal and then present them as original, with no understanding or reference to their culture of origin.

Lastly, There is almost no new information or recommendations here. Freeman is basically just taking other authors’ practices and recommending them (because they work for him). There is no expiration of why they work or even, importantly, how to make them work. My advice? Look at the bibliography, go find the source material and read it. You don’t need to get it filtered through some man who thinks the pinnacle of vulnerability is admitting he was bullied in middle-school for being short.

I have no doubt Freeman believes himself evolved and intends this book to truly help people. But to me, it reads like one man’s ego trip. Even watch a JP Sears video? Yeah, this is they type he’s making fun of.